WEARING SEXY CLOTHES AT WORK? YOUNG, FIT AND PRETTY? WATCH OUT!
Actress Minnie Driver is dressed terrifically well for a night on the town but some women go to the office dressed like this. They are getting bullied.
It’s not so much the men that may cause you trouble. You know all about that! No, it’s other women bullying you! Females who wear provocative clothing at work are getting hit on, but not necessarily by men, and not in the way they might have expected.
There have been many articles in the press about bullying recently and a lot of them have focused on girls bullying girls. Apparently the harassment doesn’t stop as girls grow up. Women act aggressively at work towards other females they perceive as physically attractive. It’s worse if the targets are young, fit and dress provocatively.
A study was done by Tracy Vaillancourt of the University of Ottawa, published in the journal Aggressive Behavior.
Morgan Campbell writes about it The Toronto Star.
We are accustomed to seeing this kind of thing on reality-based TV shows such as The Bachelor
but in the professor’s study of behavior at work, seeing sexily dressed employees prompted hostility in 97% of the other women who saw them. 97%!
Campbell interviewed Prof. Vaillancourt who researches and writes about mental health and violence prevention. Women frequently have “toxic relationships with other (female) employees” says Vaillancourt “and we know dressing a certain way will garner a negative reaction.’
An assistant entered the waiting room twice: once, she came in wearing pants and a blue top and the next time she came in wearing a mini-skirt. The women waiting barely noticed her in pants but the mini-skirt caused all but two of them to criticize her and even speculate about her morals.
In Campbell’s piece, Vaillancourt says this kind of hostility has come about through evolution. When men are scarce, competition increases and females “drive-down” a woman’s “mate value” through gossip and insults.
I’m not sure if men are scarce these days but maybe top-of-the-line men are scarce. That wouldn’t surprise me.
The professor says “We compete with each other all the time and we compete over really silly things.”
Statistics indicate that bullying is roughly 49/51 in offices (males to females) and females may bear the brunt of the behavior.
Campbell says that Vaillancourt figures evolution will win out over attempts to reduce bullying in offices.
“In the ideal world, “says Vaillancourt, “you can wear whatever you want to work: but if you wear something sexy “in the real world, you’re going to get it.”
This speaks to some touchy subjects:
- the image you want to project or create when in public
- first impressions (among others).
Some will argue: “If you’ve got it, flaunt it” both on the basis of general worldliness and maybe getting ahead, or at least getting noticed, in a big office.
The evidence is that dressing provocatively does not help women trying to climb the ladder.
- Some people might not have enough experience to know where to draw the dress line at work.
- Some might dress provocatively out of insecurity.
- Some might do it to incite provocation.
Some might see it as a way indicate self-confidence (however, it might just as likely indicate a lack of it).
It has to do with self-image and it could be considered healthy depending on the degree of “sexiness” demonstrated or at least how it is perceived by others– both men and women.
Appearance is important, especially at work and most serious businesses don’t like provocative dressing for a host of reasons. But some businesses (retail sales, advertising, etc.) have a more relaxed attitude towards dress, especially female dress.
It comes down to “When In Rome.. ” regarding business attire.
First impressions DO count and they are difficult to change in the minds of the perceivers.
A couple of years ago a sultry-looking woman lawyer, Debrahlee Lorenzana, was allegedly fired from Citibank because of her office dressing style. It caused a big stink and led to lawsuits.
Some might argue that Ms. Lorenzana”s figure (in the two photos here) is a legitimate part of her and the dress she has on doesn’t seem alarming. She’s certainly alarming to some women.
Then again, it has been suggested in the New York press that Ms Lorenzana has allegedly…ummm had some work done.
Does it matter? Some women might argue that that is unfair.
That is a different slant on the dressing at work subject.
Today’s slant is the bullying aspect and it’s complicated enough.
If you have an opinion on this topic, please comment below.
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